Tag Archives: mixed media

Show Opens Tomorrow!

And, there is more to share.

Time has a way of speeding up when you are real busy. I see that I haven’t posted in a few weeks, and BOOM! my featured artist show, Interconnected Visions, opens tomorrow evening at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. It appears I have some catching up to do.

First some additional introductions.

This is Showoff.

Waving anthropomorphic Malabar Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica). Needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Showoff

Showoff is a Malabar Giant Squirrel, Ratufa indica. Yes, they are a real animal, native to the forrests of India. Also, yes, some of them have purple-magenta-ish coloring. Mine is perhaps a bit more vibrant? It is hard to know for sure. I did find numerous photos just as colorful, but there is no way of knowing if the individuals who took those images might have enhanced them. I created Showoff simply because purple squirrels exist, and I think that is pretty fantastic. You may find it surprising, but it appears that their bright coloring actuallty helps them blend in among the treetops, as the patterning breaks up their outline. These squirrels are also quite large, roughly twice the size of the Eastern Grey squirrel.

My Showoff is not trying to remail unseen, in fact he is waving at the viewer to attract attention. He features the same needlefelted wool over wire and batting form as my other sculptural pieces.

Anthropomorphic flamingo on ice skates. Needle felted wool over wire and batting armature
Be Unique

What else can be said about an ice skating flamingo? Be Unique is a response to a request. A lighhearted urge to be oneself no matter what the “normal” role may be. She appears to be quite proud of her skills, and has a naturally colorful skating costume. Be Unique is also needle felted wool over wire and batting. Her internal armature anchors into her sparkly base.

Something different for this show.

Vessels created by wet felt techniques over balloon form
Felted vessels

I created several wet felted vessels for this show. Wool fibers have scales along thier surface. These scales grab on to one another as fibers are pushed past each other in the felting process. In needle felting, I stab the loose fibers with special needles that catch and move the wool.

Wet felting uses soapy water and agitation to felt the fibers together. These vessels were created by layering loose wool roving over a balloon. I then spray soapy water on the wool, and cover the wool with tulle netting. Bubble wrap is then rubbed over the tulle in small circular motions. The process of layering, rewetting, and rubbing is performed for several layers. I remove the balloon between some layers to guage thickness and tightness of the felt, and to check the structural integrity of the vessel. I also “boil” the wool by wetting it down and placing in the microwave for short bursts. This additionally tightens the felt.

Bags

I created two bags for this show as well. One is quite causal, and the other a bit flashy.

My Grey Felted Bag was wet felted over a foam form. Layers of wool are placed on the form with edges that wrap around to the other side. The wool is wet, covered with tulle, and agitated with bubble wrap in the same manner as the vessels. I cut the top of the bag open, and then cut handle openings. I finished off the handles by stitching with yarn. The bag is lined with purple cotton that is hand-stitched in place. I added velcro to the liner under the handles as a closure.

Handled wool bag created using wet felt techniques with hand sewn cotton lining and velcro closure
Grey Felted Bag
Wool envelope clutch created using wet felt techniques with hand sewn cotton lining and needle felted butterfly wing design
Butterfly clutch

My Butterfly Clutch is a combination of wet and needle felting techniques, and a little recycling. I first created the envelope clutch bag in similar manner to the Grey Felted Bag. It also has a lining of the same purple fabric sewen inside. The striking monarch butterfly wing was needle felted for an earlier piece that I wasn’t quite satisfied with. I scrapped that sculpture, but kept the needle felted wings. One wing already made its way on to a denim shoulder bag. I attached this wing by needle felting it directly on to the closure flap of the bag.

Hope to see you at HGA!

Check out all of my newest work, the paintings of Eduardo Lapetina, and Pete Rodrigues’ amazing furniture at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts tomorrow evening during the Hillsborough Arts Council’s Last Friday Art Walk.

card for Interconnected Visions show at HGA

Remembering Whales

I’m of a vintage to be able to remember ‘Save the Whales” as being a thing. I know that the global moratorium on whaling isn’t complete, and doesn’t block all whaling. But, it has allowed many species of whale populations to rebound. Why did I find my self thinking about this the past week or so? It might have some connection to watching my daughter doing some fundraising for Ukrainian refugees at school, and working an internship at a non-profit that deals with poverty issues. It is inspiring to witness empathy and caring. In recalling this rallying cry from youth for people to care about something, I was inspired to bring my own whale to life.

Remember whales -humpback whale art doll figure sculpture. Needle felted wool over batting and wire
Remember Whales

Remember Whales

I’m not sure if some would count him as anthropomorphic or not. I do not have this humpback whale doing something overtly human, and he’s certainly not dressed up. However, I find a certain intelligence expressed by most species of cetaceans. My whale seems ready for a conversation. His bright blue eyes sparkle with knowing, and he is propped up on his fins to look the viewer in the eye. A conversation with this humpback might prove quite embued with humanity

Remembering Whales is needle felted wool over wire and batting. HIs upper coloring is a hand blend of grey and blue fibers. Blue glass beads are sewn and felted in place for his eyes. He will be available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts the last week of May.

Helping Sunflower Stand Tall

It is impossible to filter out all that happens in the world, and just create sculptures that depict cute happy little creatures. So, I’ve responded by creating some cute happy little creatures trying to say or do a bit more. “Helping Sunflower” is the next piece that will be available during my feature show in May. In this sculpture, three woodland creatures are working together to help a sunflower stand tall and straight.

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping Sunflower

Ukrainian Sunflower

The whole world is now aware of the sunflower as symbol of Ukrainian national identity. We are also painfully conscious of that nation and its people’s need for help right now. I decided to depict that need and hopefully the resulting aid through this piece. My blossom is being aided by a trio of woodland animals.

Racoon Stability

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping Sunflower – Raccoon detail

The raccoon at the base of the sculpture is doing more than holding up the stem of the sunflower. I filled his bottom with a small pouch of glass gems so that he provides ballast to this taller than average sculpture. His construction is needle felted wool over foam, batting and wire. His glass bead eyes are sewn and felted in place, and his whiskers are fishing line knotted in place. The fur is purposely felted in with ends loose to provide a fluffy fur coat and tail.

Mouse Has The Leaves

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping sunflower – mouse detail

A field mouse is perched on one leaf while he steadies another. His construction is felted wool over quilt batting. The mouse eyes and whiskers are the same as his raccoon friend.

Robin Provides Sunflower Air Support

Helping Sunflower is needle felted wool sculpture over a wire and quilt batting armature form. Anthropomorphic raccoon, mouse and robin work together to help a sunflower
Helping Sunflower – robin detail

At the very top a robin in flight grasps a petal in his beak. The robin was the trickiest element construction wise. I wanted to make sure he appeared to be pulling the flower upward. The wire armature travels up through the petal edge and on into the bird. The wing edges are left purposely loose to give the illusion of movement. The robin features needle felted wool over wire and batting with hand sewn glass bead eyes. The sunflower incorporates recycled chopsticks and wire in its stem, a machine stitched center that provides the illusion of seeds, and individually formed petals.

The sculpture will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts beginning May 24th.

Pond-er, anthropomorphic frog needle felted art doll figure sculpture seated in 'Thinker"pose

Three for May

Three to share today

It has been much too long since I’ve shared some new work from my studio work table. I have been busy creating new sculptures, but other computer work priorities have kept me from telling you about them here. As a result they have actually backed up a bit, so I have three new pieces to share today. They are all being saved for my featured artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in May.

A Frog to Start the Trio

Pond-er, anthropomorphic frog needle felted art doll figure sculpture seated in 'Thinker"pose
Pond-er

Pond-er is the first of these three new art doll sculptures. Yes, he is reminiscent of Rodin’s “Thinker”, in a lighthearted amphibious way. He is an ultimate example of my frequent aim of minimal anthropomorphism. Trying to create figures that express human characteristic as minimally as possibly, and not by simply dressing them up in clothes. Pond-er is a natural for this approach, as the famous sculpture he is based on is also a nude figure.

Pond-er is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature frame. His eyes are glass beads that are sewn in place. Admittedly, he does just make me smile, and that is why I created him.

Two of Three

Morph, anthropomorphic zebra needle felted art doll figure sculpture with rainbow butterfly wings
Morph

Secondly, I’d like to introduce you to Morph. Morph is a rainbow zebra pega-fly? Tricky nomenclature aside, Morph is just a flight of fancy on my part. In my head I saw a zebra with butterfly wings where the black stripes became the borderlines of the wings, and the white gradates into the colors of the rainbow. I think that my expression of these ideas in Morph is pretty spot on. I will admit that Morph isn’t necessarily imbued with any particular human characteristics, she’s just a feast for the eyes. Though, she may express some thoughts of change and inclusion through her coloring and metamorphic nature. Morph’s construction is similar Pond-er.

A Bear in Solitude

Considered Solitude anthropomorphic needle felted bear art doll figure sculpture
Considered Solitude

The last of these three new pieces is Considered Solitude. It started by looking at the word solitude, and finding that a bear is an animal that is supposed to be representative of that concept. From there, I thought what might a bear do in its moments of solitude? Mine is carefully considering a daisy. This seated figure does have a simple scarf wrapped around his neck (perhaps it’s an ascot?) He just seemed to need something extra. Considered Solitude has the same felted wool over wire and quilt batting construction.

All three of these new works will be available at the end of May at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. I will share more details as the date approaches.

What’s Up Doc? Anything Goes

– A Rabbit Plague Doctor

What's Up Doc is an anthropomorphic rabbit plague doctor art doll sculpture. Needle felted wool over wire and batting armature, glass bead, faux leather and suede embellishment.
What’s Up Doc?

The state-wide juried show Resolutions 2022 has come down at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, so now it’s time for us HGA artists to have a bit of our own fun. “What’s Up Doc?” is my offering for our new show Anything Goes. We installed the show a couple of days late due to a bit of snowy weather, but it is now hanging in the HGA Featured Exhibit room for you to check out.

It is not often that I do a new version of a favorite piece very quickly. I like to let some time pass so that each stands completely on their own within my portfolio. However, like all things pandemic related, normal gets thrown out. I really liked my rhino Plague Doctor from this fall, and he found a home rather quickly. So, this time around I chose a smaller, but no less brave anthropomorphic plague combatant.

What’s Up Doc – Details

What’s Up Doc is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature I created. His fur is a custom color mixture of wool that I felted together to give him the appearance of a wild rabbit. The ridescent glass bead eyes are sewn in place. I created the walking staff from a stick, glass beads, glass gem, copper wire, and needle felted wings. Doc’s hat and mask are hand stitched from faux leather and recycled suede from an old pair of boots. His medical shoulder bag is needle felted wool with hand sewn bead closure and strap clasp. The sculpture stands 11 inches high and balances on his large hind feet with his staff for a bit of added stability.

Stop In

The Anything goes show will be on display at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts through February 20th. Check it out, and maybe take home something special for a Valentine’s surprise!

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic needle felted rabbit art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup.

Wonderland Looking Glass Mash Up

Passes Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times

My work travels through Alice in Wonderland’s looking glass every once in a while. Alice makes a number of appearances, and the White Rabbit showed up once as well. My latest trip through the looking glass appears to have taken a number of trips. “Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times” is a mashup of several of the Wonderland denizens. Alice, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, The Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, and Absolem all lend elements to the piece.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic rabbit needle felted art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup
Through The Looking Glass One too Many Times

The sculpture not only brings together several different characters, but several types of media as well. The rabbit figure is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. Her eyes are iridescent black glass beads, that give the illusion of eyes of many different colors. I created her long eye lashes by fringing black denim, and sewing them in place. Her apron is white cotton and lace with needle felted wool pocket, heart appliqué, and novelty heart button. The “Drink Me” bottle is a compilation of beads with a small paper craft tag. I made Abselom’s hookah from a wooden ball, glass and metal beads, leather chord and metal findings. Her curly Alice locks are dyed wool roving from Susan Hope‘s (HGA artist) sheep.

Take Two, Take Three

Some pieces emerge fully formed in the sketchbook on take one. I create some on the fly with just a concept in mind. Through The Looking Glass was a fully formed concept that I needed to sketch. The first drawing was just too much, and felt forced. My second try also missed the mark. I felt that the figure had to try to accomplish the challenge of combining the figures without getting drowned in costuming. My third sketch served as the basis of this final piece. I hope you’ll agree I found the balance I was looking for.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic needle felted rabbit art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup
Through The Looking Glass … hat

At The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times will also make her debut at HGA in September. I will be sure to share when she and all her friends are available.

Journal Cat side view, asleep or winking?

Winking Or Sleeping?

Winking Journal Cat…

Journal Cat - needle felted wool and mixed media anthropomorphic cat sculpture
Journal Cat

Perhaps she is sleeping with one eye open? I’m not exactly sure. I started out wanting her to be sleeping, but couldn’t resist the temptation to have her peek at the viewer with one of her bespectacled eyes. Depending on the angle, the cat appears to be either sleeping with one eye open, or winking knowingly.

Like a predecessor named Literary Cat, Journal Cat is a calico. For some reason they strike me as the cat that hangs out in bookshops, libraries, or one’s favorite reading nook. She looks like she would be equally comfortable curled up in your lap as you read as well.

Journal Cat isn’t actively reading or writing, but rather reclining on a fabric covered journal. The journal is no longer operational. The pages and cover have been glued together providing a comfortable base for our feline to rest on. The journal, hand formed “pince nez” specs, and fishline whiskers create a more multimedia piece. The primary media is still needle felted wool. You can view a short video from my last post to see how needle felting works, and how I incorporate it into my sculptures.

back of Journal Cat sculpture
Journal Cat back view

As is the case with most of my anthropomorphic figures, Journal Cat expresses her human-like characteristics in minimal fashion. Her bright scarf, glasses, and literary perch tell you what she is about. The viewer is left wondering exactly what this cat’s journal entries would look like. I would suspect a lot of naps among the prose and poetry.

Another Show Reminder

Journal Cat will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts‘ September featured artist show, Unmuted, along with all my other new works. The show installs in the gallery on 9/20 and will having its Last Friday reception and will go live online on 9/24.

close up of Aurora Dancing face

Aurora Dancing…

Travel Born Art Doll

I am often asked where I get ideas and inspiration for my art doll figure sculptures.  My quick answer is, “anywhere, and everywhere.”   Boleyn’s Ghost took her inspiration from a book. I pulled from a Degas painting for Local Star.  The genesis of my latest sculpture was travel.

This past summer we had an adventure in Iceland.  We chose a “you drive” tour. For eight days we traversed Iceland’s surreal and otherworldly landscape.  Mountains, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and icebergs were some of the breathtaking sights we encountered.  We also passed what seemed to be a never-ending supply of sheep grazing wherever they pleased.

The beautiful wool products and the inspirational scenery of Iceland percolated in my head following our trip.  The result of this marriage is Aurora Dancing.

Aurora Dancing art doll

Aurora Dancing art doll

We visited in the summer, and therefore did not get to experience the northern lights dancing in the night. As a result, my figure’s felted coat employs an imagined interpretation of the aurora borealis over a snowcapped landscape.  Aurora is papier mâché and paperclay over a wire armature.  I needle felted this art doll’s coat, mittens, boots, and flowIng hood by hand, as well as the cover of the base. I aimed to integrate my material and visual inspiration with the magic of Icelandic lore.

More Needle Felting

Aurora will find that she is just the beginning of a number of art dolls that will have felting techniques incorporated in their construction. Needle felting is like painting with fiber.  It provides an opportunity to add another dimension to my sculpture. Needle felted wool lends itself to completely different creations as well. I wrote earlier that I have already created a small herd of Icelandic inspired animal ornaments.   Those ornaments will be making their way to the gallery in a couple of weeks as the holiday shopping season begins.

 

Weaving Dreams celestially colored art doll seated on the crescent moon

Summer Work

Dream Weaver at HGA

Travel and other summer distractions have kept me away from the work table somewhat the past few months.  That doesn’t mean that my studio has been completely fallow, just a bit more relaxed.  The last piece I delivered to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is Woven Dreams.

Weaving Dreams celestially colored art doll seated on the crescent moon

Woven Dreams

This piece is a papier-mâché and paperclay sculpture.  I began with the crescent moon which I sculpted over a corrugated cardboard under structure.  The moon contains an internal sandbag to keep it tilted at just the right angle to accommodate the seated figure.  The dream weaver herself is paperclay and papier-mâché over a wire armature.  I created her unique skin tone with strips of torn tissue paper, and a tiny bit of silver paint.  Her “other worldly” eyes are fashioned from iridescent beads.  The entire sculpture was then sealed before the addition of her silver tinsel hair, wire and beaded weaving, and glittering tulle skirt.

I’ve also been busy finishing up sculpture commissioned as a present.   I will share a few images of after she is delivered to her new home.

Back to the work table.

 

 

Hope- seated art doll figure sculpture with balloons

Paper, Paper, Paper

Paper.

Here are my paper inspired art doll figure sculptures that will be part of the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” featured artist show going up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts this coming Monday, March 26th. Opening reception Friday, March 30th from 6-9pm.

Paper Dolls?

You may have seen a few of these figure sculptures here, or even in the gallery already.  They all utilize paper in the form of paperclay and/or papier-mâché as the primary media.  Many are also connected to paper through inspiration found in the pages of literary works, sheet music, vintage notebooks, newspapers and more.

Hope- seated art doll figure sculpture with balloons

Hope

Seated figure, Hope, is a playful juxtaposition of color and black and white.

Tinker bell inspired art doll sculpture figure

Tinkerbell Never Lost Her Shadow

Wearing text pulled from the pages of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell Never Lost Her Shadow, is a hanging art doll figure sculpture that is all about light and shadow.

art doll book sculpture titled Boleyn's Ghost

Boleyn’s Ghost

I introduced Boleyn’s Ghost in my last post.  This art doll sculpture is based on the sister characters of Anne and Mary from the historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl.

Chef Sings - singing chef art doll figure sculpture

Chef Sings

Chef Sings was inspired by a ceramic figure sculpture I made in Jr. high school art class!

Prudence art doll sculpture

Prudence and Martha

The Prudence and Martha sculpture is born from the Beatles vast music catalog and the figures are clad in sheet music.

 

Local Star, Degas inspired art doll figure sculpture

Local Star

This sculpture is a rework of an art doll figure damaged by water.  She was inspired by a Degas painting, and her costume is made from the pages of the local paper.

Paper Alice II is an Alice in Wonderland inspired art doll

Paper Alice II

Another Alice in Wonderland art doll figure.  This sculpture features Alice examining the “drink me” bottle, and playing card motifs.

In The Gallery Now

Leonardo's Child art doll figure sculpture

Leonardo’s Child

Already on display at HGA, Leonardo’s Child, is a nod to genius and flight.

Running Free figure sculpture

Running Free

Running Free was a problem solving stop on the way to the next two minimalist figures I created for HGA’s “C-Note” show.

minimal dancing figure art doll sculpture

Dance

Dance is one of two art dolls that I pared down to their basic figure sculpture form for “C-Note”

Recline - figure sculpture

Recline

Reclining art doll figure at HGA.

These pieces and more will all be find at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this coming Monday.  If you are in the area stop by and take a look! Hope to see you at the opening reception next week!